WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Toyota Motor North America is recalling 39,100 stainless steel exhaust tips sold by Toyota as an optional accessory for use on MY 2008 Highlander and Highlander Hybrid vehicles. 

Because of improper heat treatment during the manufacturing process, the original clamp used to secure the Toyota stainless steel exhaust tip to the exhaust pipe may develop microscopic cracks, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. Eventually, the crack may expand, causing the clamp to break. As a result, the original clamp and the Toyota stainless steel exhaust tip may fall off the vehicle's exhaust pipe and become a road hazard. 

Toyota will notify owners and replace the clamp free of charge. The safety recall begins this month. 

Vehicle owners affected by the recall can contact Toyota at (888) 270-9371.